Kerala rains are what people typically aspire to see. In ‘God’s own country,’ it is one time of the year when the greenery explodes, mountains are lush with spices and waterfalls are heavy.
This year, however, was different. In the month of August, when most of India was busy celebrating the freedom it won from the British rule on the 72nd Independence Day, natives of Kerala were grappling to cope up with what they describe as the onset of their worst nightmare.
Unprecedented rains triggered the state’s worst flooding in almost a century, destroying thousands of homes and roads. “It was a harrowing experience for us. The floods ruined our life by damaging our house and livelihood with the cattle shed,” recalls Pennamma, a 62-year-old widow, who lost her husband a couple of years ago, and is currently living with her children in Kamakshi Village of Idukki block of Idukki district.
“During floods, we could not go out and buy anything. We suffered due to lack of supply in the market,” says Kavitha from Periyavarai Estate, Top hills, Devikulam Taluk, Idukki District.
Rescue Efforts and Relief Camps
In an effort to help the affected people in the flood-ravaged state of Kerala get back on their feet, a slew of corporates rose up to the cause and volunteered to donate funds and materials to those in need.
CARE India with support from The
“In terms of distribution of relief materials, our process is robust and highly transparent. We ensure people-friendly initiatives and are accountable to the community we work for. Keeping up with these ethical practices, we have adopted our rescue operations to reach out to the affected families in Idukki and Wayanad,” says a spokesperson for Cola-Cola India.
Among those affected, CARE India and The
CARE India believes in empowering women – especially those who have been affected by disasters. In fact, its relief distribution is designed with the intention of listing out women from families, validating their status as victims of the disaster and issuing tokens in the name of these women, and also distributing the materials to the women folks of the families.
“I am five months pregnant and have suffered a lot during the floods. I had to move from house to house without proper food and shelter,” recalls the 26-year-old.
For an expecting mother like Jayalakshi, it sure wasn’t as easy journey. “Thank you very much for giving me the relief kit. That was of immense help,” she adds.
Relief distribution undertaken by CARE India and The
Apart from providing relief kits, sessions were also conducted on water sanitation and hygiene awareness, to orient women and community members on the importance of personal hygiene, hand washing, safe sanitation, usage of toilets, and solid and liquid waste disposal. In addition, the NGO and the cola company also organised counselling sessions to help people pick up pieces of life that were swept away. After all, one would agree that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety are all aftermaths of a natural disaster.
Finally, life, as they say, always goes on. For CARE India and The Cola-Cola Foundation, food, medicine and shelter constitute just one aspect of relief work, while the larger story is all about weaving a better life for the victims outside the relief camp. So, in that respect, the journey has just begun!